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Examines The Use Of Satire Within Eminent Australian Poet , Bruce Dawe's, Work.

1304 words - 5 pages

Satire is defined as the use of wit, especially irony, sarcasm, and ridicule, to attack the vices and follies of humankind. In the context of literature and especially poetry it can also be used to persuade the reader of the authors/poets viewpoint and also to point out the authors conception of various flaws in the way society is run, various lifestyles and various traditions/rituals. Bruce Dawe an eminent Australian poet often uses the technique of satire to display his views upon various issues, for example some of his poems leitmotif being the Australian lifestyle. A lifestyle is a system or way of life that groups or nations of people abide by. Dawe has chosen to use satire to emphasise his views about the Australian lifestyle in many of his poems, two of the poems that deal with this subject matter are ? A Victorian Hangman Tell His Love ? and ? Enter Without So Much As Knocking ?. These poems attack two vastly different issues that relate to the Australian lifestyle, ?A Victorian Hangman Tell His Love ? has the subject matter of capital punishment and the other relates to the crass consumerism and materialistic nature of society in the post-war era of the Fifties and Sixties, with nihilistic overtures. There is much contrast between these poems, from their subject matter to the form and devices used and most importantly how satire is used, its effectiveness and what role it plays in establishing the ideals in the readers brain. Despite this contrast there is one main common point, both these poems are mocking a certain way of life and its processes.Poetry through various devices can often bring a issue normally invisible to the world out into the open, so influencing the readers view of it. ?A Victorian Hangman Tells His Love? is a poem done in the persona of a hangman that is talking to a prisoner who after waiting on death row, has just stepped into the execution chamber. The technique that is the most effective in establishing the theme and also attacking capital punishment is the form and style of language through the poem. In contrast with the form and style of language in ?Enter Without So Much As Knocking? this poem is done in a very smooth and romantic way, like the form a letter or proposal would take. Comparing two such different things, death and love, one sacred and revered and one dreaded and causing much trepidation, results in a sense of irony which is a cornerstone of satire and develops the theme in a readers mind. A good example of Dawe using more irony is where the hangman likens the placing of the noose around the prisoners neck to placing a necklace around his loves neck and the line ? I would have come arrayed like a bridegroom for these nuptials?. Another way that Dawe emphasised the anti-capital punishment rhetoric is by displaying the lack of control the prisoner/bride has over their fate and how gross and mechanical their death is. Dawe talks about the use of tranquillisers, the binding of the prisoners arms, the...

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